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Deutsch, Radio Innovator, Dies at 84

By Dave Hughes

Harold Deutsch, who brought football programming to WCBM, 680 AM, died of cancer on April 13 at his home in East Hampton, N.Y. He was 84.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Deutsch came to Baltimore in 1973 as general manager for WCBM. He created “lucrative sports programming” built around the station’s broadcasts of Baltimore Colts games. His sports shows featured former Colts Art Donovan, Ordell Braase and John Unitas.

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Comcast and the NFL Network are taking their dispute to Washington, where they faced off this week in a courtroom at the Federal Communications Commission. The outcome of the case could determine whether Comcast will continue to carry the NFL Network on its basic cable systems, so millions of Comcast customers would see it without an extra $7 monthly charge via a digital sports tier.

Multichannel News says that Comcast's contract with the NFL Network expires at the end of April. The local cable TV giant has said it would continue to carry NFL Network on its sports tier until the FCC case is resolved. But the NFL Network has not agreed, and both sides say the NFL Network could disappear from Comcast in May.

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Ray Frager at the Sun says the Orioles home opener on April 6 drew more than twice the television audience of last year's Opening Day. The combined households watching Channel 13 and MASN numbered 135,000. Last year, that home opener number was 63,000.

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WVIE, Fox 1370 Sports Radio, is the “exclusive Baltimore carrier” of the Washington Capitals' playoff games. The games can also be heard on DC’s WJFK, 106.7 FM.
Speaking of hockey, even though the Capitals have the fourth-best record in the National Hockey League, Comcast SportsNet scored the biggest ratings increase during the 2008-09 NHL season for telecasts through April 2.

CSN, which aired 66 Capitals regular season games, saw its ratings improve 96 percent to a 1.12 average in the Washington TV market from a 0.57 average a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

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It looks like DC sports columnist-superstar Tony Kornheiser is lightening his workload even more, as he prepares this summer to return for a fourth season on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."

Not only has he shot down talk that he will someday return to the local radio dial, but also we hear that he'll even stop doing work for his longtime employer, the Washington Post. Even though Kornheiser took a Post buyout last year, he has continued doing the occasional print feature, plus some online content. Kornheiser will reportedly continue doing his "Pardon The Interruption" show on ESPN.

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Speaking of TV football, John Madden, the most recognized analyst in television sports, is calling it quits.

In a statement, Madden, who was NBC's No. 1 NFL analyst on the Peacock's Sunday night package, said: "It's time. I'm 73 years old. It's been such a great ride...the NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion -- it still is. I appreciate all of the people who are and were such an important part of the most enjoyable, most fun anyone could have. ... It's still fun and that's what makes it hard and that's why it took me a few months to make a decision."

Jested the Sun’s Ray Frager: “You’ve probably heard this morning's news that John Madden is retiring from announcing. Frank Caliendo just put his house up for sale."

Posted April 17, 2009